Canada Post is in the process, in 2010, of assessing the safety of all rural mailboxes in Canada. The concern stems from the safety issues of their workers, including the potential dangers of frequent vehicle stops and the safety of the box itself.
While Canada Post will inform homeowners if their rural mailbox is deemed unsafe and will work with them to correct the issues, there are certain requirements and considerations when installing a rural mailbox so that it passes the safety inspection.
Rural mailboxes must be accessible to the postal carrier and within reach from inside the vehicle. The postal carrier will pull over to the side of the road in front of the mailbox and will reach out from the vehicle to place the mail in the mailbox. The mailbox cannot, for example, be placed opposite a steep gully or trench. It also cannot be located in an area where there is no stopping allowed by law.
Distance from the Road
The mailbox must be far enough back from the road's edge that the truck can get completely off of the road to stop and deliver the mail. This is especially important on busy rural roads so that the postal truck does not have to block traffic when delivering. On very busy rural roads, Canada Post may request that mailboxes be grouped together to minimize merging in and out of traffic.
Safety of the Box Itself
The mailbox cannot be rusted, broken or otherwise pose a risk to the postal carrier. It should be in good condition and large enough to hold several pieces of mail.
Alternatives to Rural Delivery
If a homeowner cannot make his rural mailbox comply with Canada Post's guidelines, there are other solutions available. Canada Post can set the homeowner up on its Community Mailbox programs, where homeowners have a box in a communal location in the local area. The post office can also set the homeowner up with a post office box at the local post office.
Moving a Rural Mailbox
If a homeowner does not feel that a mailbox placement will meet Canada Post's guidelines or believes that the current location of the box will not be acceptable when the safety assessment is completed, she should contact Canada Post before moving the box or finding a new location. Changing the location of rural mailboxes should only be done after discussing the issues with Canada Post. They may move the safety assessment date forward and help to place the mailbox in a spot that will stay in line with their rules.
- Photo Credit Boite aux lettres canadienne ouverte image by GUILLIN from Fotolia.com
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